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January 25, 2008

Amicus Professors

I second most everything Doug previously described about working on amicus briefs for the courts.  Doug and I have worked together on some of those briefs (sometimes he has been among the amici when I have written briefs, and vice versa), and it has been a wonderful experience.

One benefit I would add to his list is that doing this work publicly lets us serve as role models for our students.  In our area of law (federal sentencing), this work made a difference, and the law did change.  We allowed students to work with us at each stage, which was a part of their education they will long remember.  More importantly, perhaps, it was a public example of the importance pro bono work can have on the larger society.  In an even broader sense, it exhibits an expectation of positive change that contrasts sharply with the cynicism that pervades too much of the legal work they are exposed to as summer associates and externs.

In short, amicus work lets us show the students that we are not just lawyers, but lawyers who will sacrifice for principle and who view the law as a vehicle to make society better.

-- Mark Osler

January 25, 2008 | Permalink


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